Although professional and marketplace criticism are unavoidable realities of the creative career, it is easy to become distracted by them, given the basic human desire for acceptance and approval by others. For artists and creatives, criticism, whether constructive or unwarranted, is never really anticipated at the release of their work—as the sharing of it in the marketplace is an indicator of its perceived value and worthiness. In today’s viral digital climate, the offense generated from a critical review or seemingly off-handed comment can result in an artist’s preoccupation with defending their work and a disruption to the creative process. In an atmosphere of unsolicited criticism, where freedom of opinion is encouraged and unlimited, how can artists maintain their confidence and progress without falling prey to self-doubt or second-guessing?
Forgiveness is regularly hailed as the cure-all to overcoming offense, in the ability to release resentment and successfully move forward—however, there are rarely any firm action steps available towards achieving it, with the premise that offense becomes soluble or digestible by will. For artists and creatives, an effective method towards achieving forgiveness in the face of criticism can be found through the practice of detachment and self-awareness—both of which provide an opportunity for an objective evaluation of the motives behind said criticism and an acknowledgment of individual inability to control the opinions of others.
Prayer and meditation are both effective tools in the practice of detachment. The moment an artist is able to rescind their resentment and return their attention to the source and author of their creativity, they are able to regain their connectivity with the power that has the capacity to renew and sharpen the creative voice and perspective. During moments of self-reflection under the restorative light of the Creator, an artist’s sense of confidence and creative intuition increases, allowing for resumed focus on their work.
This level of renewal and restoration is paralleled in scripture in the writings of the Apostle Paul in his advisement towards the abandonment of the “old life” of instant gratification based in ego, and the “putting on of the new self” based in spirit with Christ:
“This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.—Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you.”
In practicing detachment and self-awareness in the face of criticism and offense, artists and creatives can remain under a renewed state of confidence and creative mentorship that allows for an objective review of their work and continued artistic growth.